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Shameless Self-promotion Sunday #46

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 15 years ago, in 2009, on the World Wide Web.

A happy Pascua Florida and a shameless Sunday to you all.

What have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.

18 replies to Shameless Self-promotion Sunday #46 Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Nick Manley

    “By preventing a free market in education, a handful of social engineers – backed by the industries that profit from compulsory schooling: teacher colleges, textbook publishers, materials suppliers, et al. – has ensured that most of our children will not have an education, even though they may be thoroughly schooled.”

    ~ John Taylor Gatto

    “I don’t think we’ll get rid of schools any time soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we’re going to change what’s rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution “schools” very well, though it does not “educate”; that’s inherent in the design of the thing. It’s not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent. It’s just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing.”

    ~ John Taylor Gatto


    Discuss! That last claim is very provocative. It’s not that current forms of schooling are bad. It’s that schooling is in opposition to education period.

  2. nicole

    Since I blog about books, not politics, I never share here, but this week I reviewed/commented on Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, an essay published a few years ago.

    And in re: Nick Manley–provocative, yes, but all I can say is “I agree!!!” Very smart comment, really.

  3. John

    I explained to liberals that Barack Obama’s philosophy, if you want to call it that, might seem unclear, inconsistent, or overly pragmatic to the average Democrat or Republican, but it is obvious to libertarians: pure, unadulterated Keynesian Statism.

    I also criticized Obama for starting to blow up the automotive bubble, predicting that this will only hurt, not help, Detroit automakers in the long run.

    Not much philosophy lately, all topical things, but, hey, there is a plethora of hypocrisy and ignorance out there to rail against 24/7.

  4. Jeremy

    God, I’m inept. Please delete those last two comments, if possible. Sorry. Libety vs. Liberty: The Final Showdown I discussed Berlin’s “Two Concepts of Liberty” and suggested that Obama is reviving positive liberty after years of living under a negative liberty regime. I also suggest that it’s time to escape from these two competing concepts and find a better solution.

  5. Nick Manley


    I must warn you that compliments from book loving generically libertarian/anarchist inclined women tend to unleash my slutty flirtatious side ( :

    Thank you for your interest and kind words! Please feel free to comment further on Gatto’s insights. I have read your blog in the past and will take a look — am very interested in books.


    I would say that negative freedom should be seen as providing the optimal environment for the achievement of positive freedom i.e. material prosperity, spiritual contentment, and so on.

  6. Nick Manley

    I strongly agree with Rand that the non-aggression principle cannot be detached from a wider philosophic totality. The point of negative freedom is to unleash the power of a self-confident passionate integrated humanity. The mind is the source of all value — including material and spiritual value. When we cannot act on it, then we literally perish. Aster has been right to point out that private concentrations of power can destroy us too — i.e. it really would kill when theocratic medical institutions deny treatment to gay individuals. Those “libertarians” who view negative reedom as license to suppress passion and the open society are statist minded in all but name. They are only for freedom in form — not content.

  7. John


    Did you ever think about getting rid of the markdown syntax requirement? It’s supposed to make things easier for noobs, I guess, but I have to be honest, I think it makes things harder. [a href] tags are one of the easiest aspects of HTML to learn, and I think most people out there know how to wrap a hyperlink around text. I bet Jeremy would agree!

  8. Rad Geek


    For what it’s worth, there actually isn’t a Markdown reqirement in comments. The syntax is available, but a basic part of the Markdown philosophy is that HTML is always available, too, in order to allow people to do things that Markdown doesn’t do well, or that they don’t know how to do in Markdown but do know how to do in HTML, with minimal thinking about the syntax. As it happens, the HTML that goes through a comment box is filtered, but anything which you can enter in Markdown, you can also enter directly in HTML, if you prefer. Thus, for example, writing <a href="http://example.com/">this</a> in a comment box produces this.

  9. Jeremy

    Nick, Indeed, I’ve heard that Tony Blair wrote a letter to Berlin suggesting a similar idea – though I think it was the other way around, that positive liberty could bring about negative liberty. I don’t believe there was a response because Berlin died not long after. Berlin acknowledges that negative liberty “is not incompatible with some kinds of autocracy, or at any rate with the absence of self-government … just as a democracy may, in fact, deprive the individual citizen of a great many liberties which he might have in some other form of society, so it is perfectly conceivable that a liberal-minded despot would allow his subjects a large measure of personal freedom.” In my opinion, the concept of negative freedom allows for the emergence of extreme disparities of wealth, which generate extreme disparities of power. In the end, a few may be prosperous, but most will be poor, and a kind of economic oligarchy or plutocracy will emerge. In any case, it is the metaphorical turn that drove the wedge between the two concepts of liberty, and gave us most of international history between the early Enlightenment and today. I think it’s time to look for new models, and I think those models can best be found through anthropological research and ethnography. Thanks!

  10. Nick Manley

    I thought I was speaking to Jeremy W here ( :

    You’re a different Jeremy! Another interesting Jeremy to talk to. Looks like you’re aiming for a redefinition of terms and new synthesis. I am a bit too fatigued to try engaging in that right this moment. I will return when less tired.

  11. nicole


    Of course, this would all depend on the definitions that Gatto is working with, but the most natural definitions for me would make this almost necessarily the case.

    I.e., “schooling” — definitionally would represent, in my mind, at least a certain degree of conformity. Not always bad conformity. Typically, schooling a la American government schools would include what people usually refer to as “socialization” along with teaching a respect for (arbitrary) authority, rules, etc. Cliquish behavior.

    Whereas “education,” if it’s going to be worth its salt, had better be teaching some kind of critical thinking. But teaching critical thinking, and questioning of authority, in the context where we’re focused on schooling–making everyone at least a little bit alike, and moldable–is going to be hard to achieve.

    At least those were my impressions when I first read the quotes.

  12. John


    Ah! I never actually tried that. Thanks.

· June 2009 ·

  1. Friend of Liberty KC

    Before I post this on my website, I wanted to get some feedback. This is the link it’s based on: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/06/200963123251920623.html

    “This news story gives me a chance to comment upon the West vs Muslim world framework within which Obama’s speech is situated. Obama intends to say the U.S. is not at war with Islam. Unfortunately, the reality is much more complex. The purported intent of U.S. invasions is to downgrade the importance of Islam in the state sphere. In other words: the U.S. is allegedly engaged in a policy of secularization through military force. A person can always claim that this or that concrete is not truly an example of a religion’s supposed essence. This is what liberal Christians do when faced with the allegedly biblically justified militant anti-abortionism of their conservative theological foes. This is what many well intentioned statist liberals/leftists have … Read Morerecently done vis Islam. I am not a Christian or a Muslim. I don’t claim any extensive theological knowledge of either religion’s doctrine or disputes. Nonetheless, it’s still clear to me that many Middle Eastern individuals want Islam to play an extensive role in the public/state sphere. We can debate whether or not Islam “really” demands this, but the fact is that this is actually existing Islamic doctrine/practice preached by a large number of individuals. The U.S. government is engaged in a public relations game. It would be much better for it to be honest. The truth being that actually existing predominant Islamic practice/conviction in the Middle East is at odds with the Enlightenment liberal ideas upon which America was founded. As those ideas wane at home, it’s imperative that people consciously choose to wage intellectual war upon the fundamentals of the Christian Taliban. Nothing less than radical philosophic repudiation of Islamism abroad and its Christian equivalent at home will do.”

  2. Aster flying by Improbability Drive

    Totally instrumental note:

    My flight coming into Synday airport was forced to detour to Brisbane due to severe local weather conditions. By the time my plane reached Brisbane, refueled, and returned to Sydney, my connecting flight had already departed. After several trips down to various airport beauracracy offices (“beware of the leopard”) and meetings with many professionally rude Vogons sitting behind desks (“Charlie!” “Tango!” “Alpha!” ‘I sound very important!!!”)”, I’ve finally been put on another flight to Wellington in 6 hours, assuming one more Vogon likes me 3 hours from now. I’m optimistic, because I took my blessed neo-mom’s advice and flew in one of my new suits of corpwear.

    Granted this, I should be asleep in something like 12 hours, assuming that the other piece of luggage containing my one of everything from Thailand and my freakin’ JOOLS and the rest of my CORPWEAR (um, I lose like half my class abilities without my #@$#@!! wearable spellbook), shrinkwrapped together with a gift parasol, hasn’t accidentally been sent to Alpha Centauri.

    It doesn’t help that when you’re travelling on a passport which lists your gender as “X”. My birth name is a veddy Briddish hypenated thing of the wrong sex which I haven’t used in six years, and plane tickets apparently can’t handle hyphens or anything else which implies technology more advanced than vacuum tubes. Oh, and I have a surgically altered NEW FACE which doesn’t make security Naz…(=) I mean personnel very happy. At least I have a big shiny certificate from the internationally recognised therapeutic state (Jesus, a rich doctor’s signature gets you places). Under two names, two copies each. Wierd how the r00lz don’t apply the same way when they think you have $$$$$$.

    But, hey, now that I’m clearly a somewhat androgynous post-transgender woman in a suit which screams ‘knows people with money’, I actually expect to make it through in one piece. OMGss. I got them to turn on the entertainment system on the whole freakin’ 747 just by smiling and being just deliberately informally formal enough and throwing in 5 of the 7 Thai words I can pronounce without hurting myself. Sure different from the way they treated me on the way in, when I looked like a scruffy tr-nny hippie chick wearing beaten-up knock-off Birkenstocks (‘randomly’ searched, snark). Oh, but classism is dead in our free Western societes. Snark. Big snark. Do I get more XP if I kill my own snark?

    I have quite a number of rhetorical commitments of various kinds to various persons, most of whom read this blog. Please forgive me if it may take me 36 hours to even begin answering them… altho’ my overall health has… irrationally… improved over the last five or so days. I’m at least 8 hours short on seep already and I’m going to be pretty low on hit points by the time I get back to someplace where I can rest without further risk of random encounters.

    Warning before wishing over and over and over again for a life of adventure: you just might get it (it’s like Rule 1 works or something!). And it makes you late for dinner… well, figuratively speaking, in this case. Then airport Vogons at least they gave me a $20 meal ticket so I can go treat myself to an absurdly snooty airport dinner. Dear goddess, how much I’d rather be back in my tea-scent flat with my dubious diet, my unlimited internet connexion, my low rent, my video games, and the mice which the incompetent resident divine felines take 3 months to catch.

    Sigh… at least this means I’ll actually eat my dead white book today like a good girl.

    Miss you all.

    (=) Oops. I should be polite. I didn’t mean Nazis, I meant national anarchist fellow travelers. And I’m not a nominalist; I’m a Randian conceptualist. ‘Sivilied people who learn to not split infinitives get nicer names. Can I level up after catching the snark?

  3. Roderick T. Long

    Airport security is run by national anarchist fellow travelers? For some reason that’s almost comforting ….

  4. Friend of Liberty KC

    Rally the friends of Liberty! The Liberty Dollar people have been arrested.


    Jim Davidson is organizing a defense team.

  5. Friend of Liberty KC

    Another Sunday link: Arthur has a wonderful essay up. The TSA destroyed a custom made piano.


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